BISBEE — With a unanimous vote, the Cochise County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday created a nine-person Citizens Recycling Advisory Committee to act as a liaison between county residents and county staff.
“The population’s diverse opinions on environmental issues will provide input and suggestions to county staff and the rate review board and initiatives will be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors for consideration,” he told the supervisors.
The supervisors hope to have committee members in place by mid-January and are asking residents interested in serving on the committee to contact the county’s public information officer, Karla Jensen.
The board also approved an $87,850 contract for recycling consulting services from R. W. Beck, the only bid received. The firm will undertake such tasks as:
• Evaluating the current facilities, equipment and operations
• Socio-economic analysis; waste stream analysis
• Recycling options analysis, feasibility of establishing a permanent materials recycling facility at the county landfill
• Transportation costs to recyclers
• And financial analysis of recycling options and evaluation of construction, commercial and computer waste.
The county received a $60,000 grant from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to set up a recycling feasibility study. The grant requires a matching sum of $30,000 from the county, which was budgeted for the 2007-08 fiscal year.
The consultant will be required to complete the study by June 2008 to meet the deadline for use of the grant money.
Haverty also said the consultant and the recycling committee would be working together to develop a regional recycling program.
“The committee will form a working group and will work closely with the consultant as a project task force to ensure there is a representative sample of opinions,” he said.
The county has had some success with recycling efforts, though right now the only items set aside for recycling are cardboard, metals, appliances, batteries and tires, Haverty said. Measures taken by Fort Huachuca and big businesses such as Wal-Mart to recycle certain items, like cardboard, has saved space in the newly-opened county landfill.
The cities of Bisbee, Douglas and Sierra Vista also have helped by creating recycling programs. In fact, Haverty said, 70 to 80 tons of cardboard a month are diverted from the landfill by Douglas’s efforts.
Inmate help and county staff also pull metals for recycling. In just a four-week period, 60 tons were diverted to recycling.
County Administrator Mike Ortega and other county staff will be searching for other funding possibilities to help with equipment costs of a recycling program.
In another matter, Judy Anderson, the county Planning and Zoning Department director, gave a presentation of the tentative plat of a 160-lot subdivision off of Kings Ranch Road in Palominas. Since the developers agreed to a build a conservation subdivision, they were allowed a 34 percent density bonus as long as 50 percent of the land is held as open space. This subdivision has set aside more than 225 acres, slightly more than required. The open space includes washes, the riparian and wildlife corridors.
Since the subdivision is in the Sierra Vista Subwatershed District, developers are required to select from a list of water conservation methods that must be included in covenants and deeds.
Supervisor Paul Newman had concerns with adding an additional 160 homes to the watershed district and said he could not support it.
“We should be scrutinizing development in the watershed,” he said. “Every time we put 160 homes near the river, we are playing Russian roulette. We have to protect the fort and the river. And I’m concerned with desert habitat being cleared and then nothing happening. With the state of the housing economy, it may take a while for this to develop. Kinjockety is also experiencing problems.”
Kinjockety is a subdivision that lies adjacent to the new development.
Anderson said no clearing could begin until the final plat is approved and permits are granted.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard Searle said he was sympathetic to Newman’s concerns, but felt putting too many obstacles in the way of development could encourage lot splits, which he sees as a problem in the county.
A person can take a tract of land, split it up into lots and then do nothing as far as roads, drainage and water conservation. As the years pass, the county and the residents of those lot splits inherit the problems.
Supervisor Pat Call said he was much happier with this planned development and pointed out on a 3-D geological satellite map the many lot splits and deficient roads that have been the norm in some areas of the county.
Though Newman had presented an argument against the development and said he would not support it, when Searle called for the vote, Newman voted “yes,” as did Searle and Call.
After the meeting was adjourned, when asked why he stated he would not support development near the San Pedro River and then did, he looked surprised and said he had voted “no.” The county clerk of the board Katie Howard told him he had voted “yes.”
Newman wanted to retract that vote and it was suggested the meeting be reopened, since only a few minutes had passed since adjournment. Searle was ready to reopen the meeting, but, Deputy County Attorney Britt Hanson said that would create procedural issues since the discussion would be happening after a meeting had been adjourned and there was no public to hear any discussion on the matter.
Instead, Hanson suggested that Newman just send in a letter stating he had made a mistake and wanted to correct his vote to “no.”
That suggestion infuriated Newman, who wanted to make the correction immediately, and he abruptly left the meeting room.
“I haven’t faced an issue like this before,” Hanson said. “It makes no difference to the vote. Two supervisors voted for it and that is a majority decision. More issues could be raised if the meeting was reopened. I had a problem with that.”
Where to go
For information on the recycling committee, contact Karla Jensen, the county’s public information officer, at 432-9207.
In other business, the Cochise County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday:
• Approved a change of classification and reduced the assessed value of parcels #105-49-326 and #105-95-194 due to a reclassification from commercial property to owner-occupied property.
• Tabled the decision on a proposal from T.L. Roof and Associates in the amount of $314,653 for the replacement of the chiller at the county courthouse.
• Approved the final plat for a 27-lot Ramsey Reserve Estates on 31 acres off Highway 92 in Sierra Vista.
• Approved the final plat for the 27-lot Kayenta Estates subdivision on 80.85 acres on South Lonesome Road in St. David.
• Approved the final plat for the 28-lot Foremost subdivision on 155 acres on Birch Road in Sunsites.